El Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, northwest Spain. It was one of the most important pilgrimages during medieval times. To take part in an activity that has continued unbroken for over a thousand years appeals to me as does meeting and overcoming the many challenges that long distance cycling can present.
The Way can take one of dozens of routes from all over Europe to Santiago. I will ride the Via de la Plata which is the longest route in Spain at about 1000 km.
It runs from Seville in Andalucia, crosses the central plain passing through the provinces of Extremadura and Castilla y Leon and finally heads west to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Large sections of the Via de la Plata have remained unchanged for over 2000 years when it began as a Roman trade route. Roman remains are everywhere and it also provides the strongest taste of Spain under the Moors.
The terrain is hilly and much of the way is off road. Therefore I will ride a hard tail mountain bike and, as I will have just celebrated my 66th birthday, will not rush. I will start my journey mid April 2015.
Ever since my first visit to Santiago I have wanted to do the Camino. Now that I have the time and opportunity to do so I would like to use the experience to raise money for CCLEF. I was a teacher for some years in Jamaica and fully appreciate the vital importance and value of education, especially education for women and girls. Last year in Sri Lanka we met two of the girls receiving financial support from the fund and saw first-hand the tangible benefits of the work the fund strives to achieve.
If, by doing this bike ride, I can raise awareness of the vital work carried out by CCLEF as well as raising some money, then it will have been worth it. I will meet the full cost of travel, accommodation and board myself so every penny donated goes to CCLEF.
An inspirational quote from Mark Twain:- Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.